“Black Mirror” is art imitating life, but what happens when art imitates that?
In a surreal feedback loop of pop culture, London’s Barbican Centre will open a major new exhibition, Into the Unknown: a Journey Through Science Fiction, that will feature the “Black Mirror” episode “Fifty Million Merits,” reports the UK’s Standard. The episode itself was a commentary on today’s obsession with exercise, living our life through screens, the gamification of tasks and the interest in achieving reality show stardom.
The episode presents a world in which everyone is surrounded by screens to swipe, program their lives and seek distraction. A person’s main task is to use exercise bikes to maintain a certain level of fitness, while overweight people become lowly cleaners or are humiliated on game shows. Cycling on the bikes allows someone to rack up “merits” that can earn them a chance to achieve fame on the talent show “Hot Shot.”
In the episode, actor Daniel Kaluuya (before his “Get Out” fame) plays Bing, a guy who inherited 12 million merits from his deceased brother. Now with 15 million merits, he can skip or ignore programming without incurring financial penalty. But after meeting Abi (“Downton Abbey’s” Jessica Brown Findlay), Bing is inspired to use his merits to get her an audition on “Hot Shot.”
“Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker tweeted about the episode’s inclusion in the Barbican’s exhibit:
The exhibition for “Fifty Million Merits” will include a six-foot video installation recreating scenes from the episode, which alternated between stark and stunning. The images will line the entrance of the exhibition, creating an immersive experience. Here’s a look at some stills from the episode itself to get an idea of what may be in store for the exhibit:
In addition to the “Black Mirror” installation, the sci-fi exhibition will also include props and models from “Star Wars,” “Alien,” “Jurassic Park” and “Interstellar,” along with new work from the specialists behind “Ex Machina” and “The Martian.”
The exhibition will run from June 3 to Sept. 1 at the Barbican.